Designer Inspiration: Haider Ackermann
Haider Ackermann is the Colombian-born, Belgian-trained, French designer who quickly became known for the sculptural beauty of his cropped leather jackets and seductively draped dresses. Born in Bogota, Colombia, Ackermann was adopted by a French couple who had already adopted two other children from Vietnam and South Korea. The family traveled to wherever Ackermann's father, a cartographer, was working and lived in Algeria, Chad, Ethiopia, and Iran, before settling in the Netherlands. Ackermann alter studied fashion in Belgium at Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts. His portfolio included work with other designers such as Bernhard Willhelm, Patrick Van Ommeslaeghe, and Mayerline as well as a five month internship at John Galliano.
Since launching his collection in 2002, Ackermann's career has received much success. In 2005, his label was acquired by the Belgian investment group BVBA 32 under chief executive Anne Chapelle. The group later split Ackermann's business into a separate entity from its other fashion holding, Ann Demeulemeester, in recognition of the label's growing prominence. Ackermann was elected as a guest designer at the influential Pitti Immagine showcase in Florence in 2011, where he also unveiled his first menswear collection to critical acclaim. Ackermann has been approached to head up several prominent design houses including Dior and Martin Margiela. He was also named by Karl Lagerfeld as the designer he would like to succeed him at Chanel.
Ackermann takes bohemian dressing to another level through the subliminal influence of his wanderings. "I never take pictures. I absorb things and try to remember them. If they stay in my mind, then it's meant to be," the designer says of his travels. His clothes identify with the person who wears them--unique and artistic--and conjure an image of someone sensual and mysterious. Masculine undertones are a signature of the Ackermann brand as he often plays between strength and fragility in his designs. "You love the idea that she would steal the clothes from her husband," he said, before correcting himself: "Her lover, not her husband." Some of his most successful reoccurring themes of design include Grecian draping, Islamic mosaic, and architectural structure. His inspiration? "The street," Ackermann said simply. "And elegance."